D9Sports.com’s District 9 Week 0/Season Football Preview

It’s season two of the PIAA six-class system and for the most part, the expansion of classification was a good thing, especially for the district’s top teams.

Curwensville’s Nick Stewart heads into his senior year with over 5,500 career rushing yards.

Three D9 champs had their postseason runs end in the PIAA quarterfinals — Ridgway, Kane and Karns City — and it looks like those three teams once again will challenge for deep runs into the season.

Below are classification and team-by-team rundowns.

But before that, 12 games dot the opening-week schedule all on Friday night, including six games in the initial Allegheny Mountain League’s crossover week. AML games have Bradford at Smethport, Ridgway at Coudersport, Sheffield at Elk County Catholic, Brockway at Otto-Eldred, Curwensville at Cameron County and Port Allegany at Kane.

The game of the week is another matchup between longtime rivals as DuBois travels to Clearfield for the 105th meeting between the Beavers and Bison. Last year’s 30-20 win by DuBois increased its all-time series lead to 70-29-5.

Elsewhere Karns City heads to Kittanning to face Armstrong. Brookville and Clarion-Limestone head to District 10-land where the Raiders visit Warren and Lions travel to Saegertown. Punxsutawney heads to Centre County in District 6 to play Penns Valley. Union/A-C Valley opens at home against WPIAL Class 1A contender Imani Christian.

Still playing another week of scrimmages are KSAC teams Redbank Valley, Moniteau, St. Marys, Keystone and Clarion.

In addition to preview information below, check out team video camp preview segments here.

Playoff format/calendar

While the PIAA expanded from four to six classifications, District 9’s teams landed in the bottom four classes. Here’s a look at the breakdown:

Class 1A

Total Teams: 13 (Union/A-C Valley, Sheffield, Ridgway, Redbank Valley, Curwensville, Keystone, Smethport, Clarion-Limestone, Coudersport, Otto-Eldred, Elk County Catholic, Port Allegany, Cameron County).

Maximum number of teams in playoffs: 8

Selection process: The AML will have four teams guaranteed playoff berths and the KSAC-Small School Division gets two automatic berths. Two teams will receive “at-large” berths. The teams and following seeding of the eight teams will be determined by the PIAA power rating system with all games played used.

Playoff schedule: First Round, Nov. 3-4; Semifinals, Nov. 10-11; Championship, Nov. 17-18. Winner advances to state playoffs in quarterfinals against the District 5 vs. District 10 winner Nov. 24-25. The winner of that game advances to the state semifinals against the WPIAL champion, Dec. 1-2.

What it means: Ridgway’s convincing playoff run through the playoffs last year along with the fact that the Elkers have most of their key players back puts them as the solid favorite to repeat as champions. Last year’s runner-up Elk County Catholic lost most of its lineup to graduation, so look for Curwensville and Clarion-Limestone to be leading the least of contenders after the Elkers.

Class 2A

Total Teams: 5 (Brookville, Moniteau, Kane, Brockway and Clarion)

Maximum number of teams in playoffs: 4

Selection process: PIAA ranking system.

Playoff schedule: Semifinals, Nov. 3-4; Championship, Nov. 10-11. D9 champion meets District 5-8 champion in regional matchup, Nov. 17-18. That winner advances to the PIAA quarterfinals against the District 10 champion Nov. 24-25 with the WPIAL champion awaiting in the state semifinals, Dec. 1-2.

The Skinny: The defending champion Kane Wolves are loaded, but Clarion returns enough talent to challenge for the district title as well. After that, the Brockway Rovers will likely put together enough of a charge to not be overlooked.

Class 3A (District 8-9)

Total Teams: It’s a sub-regional setup with Punxsutawney, St. Marys and Karns City from District 9 joined by Perry from the Pittsburgh City League.

Maximum number of teams in sub-regional playoff: 4

Selection process: PIAA ranking system

Playoff schedule: Semifinals, Nov. 3-4; Championship, Nov. 10-11. Winner advances to play the District 10 champion in a regional game Nov. 17-18 with that winner advancing to the PIAA quarterfinals against the District 5-6 champion Nov. 24-25. The WPIAL champion awaits in the state semifinals, Dec. 1-2.

The Skinny: The Karns City Gremlins are the clear favorite among the D9 teams once again. The unknown would be Perry of the Pittsburgh City League that fell 54-36 to the Gremlins in the sub-regional final, finishing the year 4-7.

Class 4A (District 5-6-9)

Total Teams: It’s a six-team field that includes DuBois, Clearfield and Bradford from District 9, Somerset from District 5, and Bellefonte and Johnstown from District 6.

Maximum number of teams in playoffs: 4

Selection process: PIAA ranking system.

Playoff schedule: Semifinals, Nov. 3-4; Championship, Nov. 10-11. Winner plays the District 4 champion Nov. 17-18 in a regional matchup with the winner advancing to the PIAA quarterfinals against the District 1-11 champion, Nov. 24-25.

The Skinny: Clearfield fell to Johnstown in the final and both teams have their quarterbacks returning, including Bison junior Isaac Rumery and Trojans QB Austin Barber who threw for 2,402 yards. The Beavers have their own big passer back in Matt Miller. Bradford should be an improved team as well, but call Clearfield the favorite going into the season.

Read team-by-team reports here.


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